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Over the next few years, the oldest millennials will hit a major milestone. Welcome to 40 Is the New 40, a series of essays about—and for—a generation rethinking what it means to get older.


Your 40s are a gift. “Forty is a phenomenal age,” says TikTok styling star and designer Carla Rockmore. “You’re mature and experienced enough to accept the process with some lighthearted ‘Jesus take the wheel’ comic relief but still young enough to dance on speakers and not need a chiropractor in the morning.”

It’s also an age when you know your style and how you want to express yourself to the world. “What I learned in the months leading up to the big birthday was that I’m at a place where my style is my own,” reflects Rajni Jacques, global head of fashion and beauty at Snapchat. “I had cultivated my own taste and created a space that I was more than happy to be in.”

Why don’t you channel that self-assured style into a purchase just for yourself? You deserve a luxurious 40th birthday present to mark the next phase in your life, whether you have big plans for the day or want it to feel like any other. To inspire your shopping, we asked eight women in fashion (including Jacques and Rockmore) to reflect on the presents they picked out for entering their 40s. Some finally went in on the designer purchases that only needed a worthy occasion—like a first Birkin bag—while others kept it close to the heart with sentimental jewelry to mark the moment in their lives. Their gifts are highly personal and incredibly stylish, and they might just lead you toward a memorable purchase of your own.

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Eva Chen, Vice President of Fashion & Shopping Partnerships at Instagram

“My 40th year was spent in full-on nesting mode, decorating our weekend house with all sorts of Instagram discoveries! One of my favorite pieces, not to sound fully vain, is a mirror from the company Glare Goods. I found them on Instagram via the super chic @saycollie account. They upcycle old mirrors into new shapes, and they made several gorgeous, organic-shaped blobby mirrors from a giant mirror in my apartment I no longer had room for. Obviously it complements my wardrobe because, well, I’ve been known to post a mirror selfie or two!”

Rajni Jacques, Global Head of Fashion & Beauty at Snapchat

“I never really thought about age much. But when 40 was looming, that was all I could dream about. What I learned in the months leading up to the big birthday was that I’m at a place where my style is my own. I wasn’t copying someone else’s look or trying to decorate myself in ways that did not feel authentic and genuine. I had cultivated my own taste and created a space that I was more than happy to be in. Yet I was very indecisive about what to buy myself to mark this important milestone. Honestly, it wasn’t until about three days ago that I knew what I wanted: a massage and this secret diamond initial ring by Mateo. I don’t have it yet. But it’s coming.”

Initials Diamond, Quartz & 14K-Gold Ring

Carla Rockmore, Content Creator and Jewelry Designer

“When I was 40, I decided to treat myself to a vintage Chanel top-handle marvel of a bag. I was walking down the winding streets of Paris when I saw this beauty calling for me from an enchanting boutique window. It was the perfect grainy leather that wears well with age, achingly chic, and the perfect proportion for both day and night. It was also very expensive for a woman sample shopping on her way to inspect garments in India.… Regardless, and with reckless abandon, I splurged on that fabulous bag and never looked back. I have worn it on so many occasions that if I amortized those years of wear, it would be considered a steal.”

1997 CC Diamond-Quilted Handbag

Claire Sulmers, Founder of FashionBombDaily

“I purchased my first Hermès Birkin bag when I turned 40. To me, the purchase signified being a boss woman about her business! I keep it in its box and dust bag most of the time, but I do pull it out occasionally for travel, investor meetings, and high-wattage fashion shows. It’s truly an asset—a classic bag that goes with just about anything. It’s something I can see passing on to my future children.”

Birkin Handbag Noir Clemence with Palladium Hardware 35

Aya Kanai, Head of Editorial and Creative at Google Shopping

“I bought [a ring that] features a charming flying pig, and the back has an inscription: ‘Anything is possible.’ I bought it because I thought it was beautiful, and I love Kirsty Stone’s collection and supporting a female founder. This ring perfectly demonstrated the moment in time I was living. I was pregnant with my daughter and had spent a long time trying to create a family. I wanted to commemorate not only turning 40 but also having a baby! I still wear it every day and look forward to giving it to my kiddo when she is grown up.”

Grandfather Fantasy Signet – Flying Pig

“For my 40th birthday, I treated myself to a vacation to Jamaica with friends and bought my first serious jewelry, a pair of 1.5-carat diamond studs. I’d never paid so much for a personal item outside of purchasing my apartment and furnishings. I felt very mature! It seemed like a good investment at the time, but now I’d rather have lab-grown diamonds so I can be completely certain they are conflict-free.”

Certified Lab-Created Diamond Stud Earrings

Marina Larroudé, Designer

“As I was turning 40, I had this perception that it was my last decade to wear miniskirts…but then I also realized that I shouldn’t take life so seriously. I should (and would) wear whatever I want and be my unapologetic self. So for my 40th birthday party, I bought myself a mini rainbow bodycon dress from Sies Marjan. The minute I saw the dress in his showroom, I knew I needed it for my 40th birthday party. I decided to embrace the taste of my seven-year-old self and had the best time while doing it. Anytime I want to have a fun night, I wear my unicorn dress.”

Prism Lurex One-Shoulder Minidress

“I don’t normally like birthdays or like to celebrate them, but I went over the top for my 40th. I hosted a big dinner with about 40 of my girlfriends. The theme of the party was Jessie’s 40 Favorite Things, and I wanted to give a gift to my wonderful friends rather than receive anything. I worked with Emily Johnson of Hartland Brooklyn to create illustrations of the 40 things, which we then embossed onto beautiful clutches made from the same vachetta leather we use at Loeffler Randall. There were drawings of Larry David, Diet Coke, Roz Chast, etc., as well as drawings to represent each member of my family. I love seeing that a lot of my friends still use the bag. That party was such a gift to me.”

Lennox Mini Flap Crossbody

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